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Students head back to school – online

Liam, Owen and youngest brother Zachery have been making the best out of not being at school. However, the two older brothers started distance learning this week.

By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express

Schools remain closed, but one Oshawa student is excited to get back to learning with the launch of the new at-home distance learning program.

“Yes, I am excited,” says 7-year-old Liam. “I love playing the games online for learning.” He says that while the learning has been fun, he’s been missing his friends from school.

“I miss playing with them and sitting with them during class,” he says.

Liam’s 10-year-old brother, Owen, echoes his feelings about missing school and his friends.

“I do miss gym and seeing and talking my friends,” says Owen.

And while the Liam is excited about starting the online learning, his brother doesn’t share the same enthusiasm.

“I am not excited to learn online because I’d rather do the paperwork,” he says. “I know my teacher is doing her best and being available for questions, but I like the paperwork better.”

Mom, Carrol, says that since schools have been closed, it’s been difficult trying to keep her boys entertained and engaged, since they can’t be going out like they normally would, such as trips to the park.

“We go in the backyard but there’s only so much a seven and 10-year-old can do each day,” she says, adding that they play hockey in the driveway too sometimes, and the rest of the time, they’re inside.

“I find it hard, especially with a two-year-old running around and needing much of my attention,” she says, adding that she’s doing what she can to keep them engaged with school work.

“I don’t want them falling behind and then having to be stressed out next year,” adding that there’s an added difficulty to keeping them focused with all the distractions from home.

“I think the school board is doing the best they can, given the circumstances,” says Carrol. “It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing for the time being.”

To help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all public schools in Ontario are closed until May 4.

The at-home distance learning plan allows students to be able to log in to their classroom online, connect with their teachers, and access their study materials, including activities and assignments in literacy, numeracy and wellbeing.

In a recent statement, Norah Marsh, acting director of education, explains that this plan, which includes some teacher-led components, will include multiple supports for students who require individualized entry points in terms of their academic strengths and technical skills.

“We are committed to ensuring our students have excellent opportunities to continue their learning journeys and will be updating you again once we hear more details from the Ministry of Education in terms of the parameters that will help inform our planning,” says Marsh.